Sonya Murphy – Start with a little push out of your comfort zone

Meet Sonya Murphy

I grew up in Adelaide and moved to Melbourne with my young family 25 years ago. The most important things in my life are my family, my business, and growing and learning through personal development. Life is a journey where we never stop learning.

We all have previous chapters in our stories – Tell me about your working life/business experiences before now?

I started working from home 33 years ago when my first daughter was born. I’ve continued to work from home all that time. My business was working as a contractor providing layout and design to book and magazine publishers. In 2015 I decided to go back to study because I wanted to shift my business slightly and expand my skills. I wanted to become an editor. In 2018 I finished my degree in Professional Writing and Editing. It was while studying that I rediscovered my childhood love of writing.

Please provide a snapshot of your business

I provide graphic and web design services to small business and I work with authors who want to self publish their books. I help them with all aspects of publishing from editing, cover and internal design, organise the printing and production and upload of eBooks. I do some content writing for small business too. I’m currently working on the launch of ERA magazine later this year with my business partner.

Assuming you are now in “Your Next Chapter”, what led you here? Tell me about your purpose, your why, the difference you want to make, who you are called to serve?

I feel my purpose is to help people by imparting information. Whether that be designing brochures and building websites, or writing and publishing. I love to help people, both my clients and the general public, and one way I can do that is by getting information in front of them. I’m also writing a book and I see that very much as part of my purpose.

What did you find most challenging about getting started/moving in a new direction?

I think fear was my biggest challenge. Even though I began my new direction in 2015 by beginning to study, I hadn’t studied since leaving school in the late ’70s and never studied at University level before. I was nervous but soon fell into it and absolutely loved it. So much so that I’ve continued to study at a postgraduate level. That’s given me more confidence to build my business. I’m about to move my business out of the house after 33 years of working at home. I want to get myself and my business visible. It’s challenging, especially as I’m an introvert, but I know deep down it’s the right time for me to get the separation between home and work. Again, I have fear, but also a great deal of excitement. I know I can recognise the fear for what it is—my own self-doubt—and push through the fear to achieve the next steps in growing and evolving my business.

What have you found most fulfilling?

I absolutely love the work I do and find that very fulfilling in itself. I don’t think I’ll ever retire as I find my work so much fun. Every day is a new day with something different for me to tackle. My most fulfilling moments are seeing my clients’ happy faces when the first copies of their books are handed to them. Or they see their new website or print materials for the first time.

Have you experienced self-doubt? What causes it to flare and how do you work through it when it hits?

Oh, all the time. I have the classic case of imposter syndrome. What I have realised being part of a networking group is that nearly everybody experiences self-doubt. I now see it as a normal part of life and push those thoughts away when they come.

How do you feel you have grown since you started?

I have worked with a mentor and a coach and have grown so much as a person. Having the time to pursue my passions when my girls left home brought about a whole new stage of life. I grasped it with both hands and did a lot of work on my inner self. I’ve also learned new skills and more about running a business with confidence. I’m a very different person than I was ten, or even five years ago.

What has been most effective for you when it comes to sharing your message and attracting clients?

That’s something I still struggle with and something I need to work on. Most of my clients come from word of mouth and referrals.

Have you developed any particular habits/strategies that facilitate getting things done in your business?

I have a notebook where I write down everything I need to get done and tick things off as they are completed. I find this the best way of keeping track of what I need to do each day and week. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to tick items off my list.

Why do you feel women in the 40’s and beyond make fabulous entrepreneurs?

Women in their 40s and beyond have so much life experience. Most have raised children and looked after households as well as held down jobs. That gives them an ability to juggle tasks while keeping their eye on the ultimate goal of where they want their business to go. They also have empathy and can relate well to clients.

What would you say to other women who are standing on the edge of their own Next Chapter, not sure if they can take the leap?

Go for it. As one of my coaches said to me many years ago, don’t get right out of your comfort zone, just give it a little push. I think that was the best advice I’ve had. Little steps and push that comfort zone a little bit, then a little bit more. Before you know it you’re doing things that you never believed you would have been capable of.

What’s next for you? Share your vision!

My business is about to move into an office so it’s a very exciting time for me. ERA magazine will be out towards the end of 2020 and I will keep working with small business owners and authors. I’m working on writing courses at the moment which I hope to launch in 2021 and eventually I will open a bookshop and run writers’ retreats. I’ll be operating under a traditional publisher model in the next few years too.


When I’m facing something new and challenging I…
Research, meditate and talk it over with others

I know my greatest strengths are…

Integrity, creativity and love of learning

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

Push that comfort zone just a little bit

One of my favourite books is…

I love so many books I can’t choose just one

My favourite Podcast is…

Unlocking Us Brene Brown, The Garrett, Chat 10 Looks 3

My favourite business tool or resource is… and my Mac computers

My favourite quote is…

Art is never finished, just abandoned

Not many people know that I…

Read tarot cards and dream of owning a bookshop


You can connect with Sonya here.

Angela Raspass

Business Mentor, Author and Founder of the Centre for Self Worth, Angela blends strategy & self-worth to support business owners & leaders develop sustainable, impactful & fulfilling visions. What will unfold in Your Next Chapter?

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